Ah Thanksgiving. The appellation says it all. Folks thankful for the bounty that is first and foremost, “life.” At times frustrating, confusing and painful, but still and always a vehicle to love and enjoy family, fall colors and the fullness of whatever the years bring you. And I should mention my personal appreciation for being part of the membership of the wonderful progressiveness of PoliticusUSA.
I’m especially thankful for the outcome of the November 6th elections. Certainly for those deserving Democrats (and yes, a Republican or two) who won, but most especially for those who didn’t win. Let’s go down the roster of those Congresspeople sent packing by astute voters of their district and profile a few satisfying winners as well.
The losing effort of Florida Representative Allen West is as good a place to start as any. He can now return to his district and take his red-baiting to the local city council meetings, “you want to set up a Food Bank, you commie bastards?” I’ve got to think the Congressional Black Caucus is arranging at this very moment for a communal Thanksgiving dinner at the closest D.C. digs of a member. Oh, and yes Mr.ex-Congressman, the candidate with the fewest votes is declared the loser.
Akin and Mourdock will have to find another clueless political trough to root in. Repeat after me, “rape is a devastating event that can have physical, emotional and psychological consequences for years after the event. The victims reproductive system can’t just flush its possible end resultant at will like squeezing a pimple. And I don’t really believe that God is cheer-leading for delivering the issue of one of the most traumatic and insulting horrors a woman can endure.” Thankfully, those turkeys can hereafter celebrate Thanksgiving at home, nevermore to return to a position of influence impacting women.
Which brings me to Joe Lieberman, erstwhile member of the independent ‘Connecticut for Lieberman’ party. Joe wasn’t exactly defeated; he retired. So, he won’t be back. And that’s something to be thankful for. Lieberman endorsed John McCain (who is unraveling before our very eyes) for President. He was a big fan of far right nutbag, New York Representative, Peter King and once promised to join a filibuster against the Affordable Care Act, if it included the public option. I’m much more trusting of a second Independent joining the Senatorial ranks, Maine’s Angus King who will caucus with the Democrats.
Thanksgiving is also made all the more satisfying this year with the election to the Senate of Tammy Baldwin. She’s a lesbian. In Tea Party eyes, that satanic offense automatically disqualifies her from everything that has to do with representing the heterosexual population. Of course, as I’ve cited in one of my earlier pieces, she’s a seven-term member of the House of Representatives from Wisconsin’s 2nd District with its epicenter squarely in enlightened Madison, Wisconsin. This post after a six-year apprenticeship in the Wisconsin State Assembly (first lesbian). Somebody, other than the Tea Party appears to love what Tammy is doing as his or her representative. In addition to being the first openly gay Senator, Baldwin was also the first woman (gay or otherwise) to be elected to Congress from this supposedly liberal-laden state.
Tammy is not afraid to be who she is having been very active with the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. The victory was made all the more satisfying in that the vanquished in this case was Tommy Thompson, a true political monster. Tammy, have a drumstick on me.
Perhaps the absence to be most thankful for won’t even happen until 2016. South Carolina’s incomprehensibly disconnected from reality Senator, Jim DeMint has promised long-suffering reasonable South Carolinian’s that he’ll not only eschew running for the Senate again, but promises not to darken the Presidential primaries as well. He initially made the pronouncement in front of a local Rotary Club so you know it has to be true. Add this line to your Thanksgiving prayer, “Please Lord, make Jim DeMint hold true to his political promise of never being on a ballot again.”
I’ve saved the very best for last. Two outspoken and brilliant individuals who will make Congress a much better and more effective place are going to take their seats very soon. I speak, of course, of the redoubtable new Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren and the re-election of Florida Representative, Alan Grayson; the latter described by the Tampa Times as a ‘firebrand’. Sounds good to me. Grayson is returning to the lower Chamber after an 18-point defeat in the 2010 election. This time around he buried a right-wing talk show host. Almost as satisfying as my wife’s Thanksgiving gravy.
A dive to the middle did Warren’s incumbent opponent Scott Brown no good. So terrified are the financial haters of Warren that their lobbyists have set up cots in the offices of anybody with the power to keep Warren at bay. There are two openings on the Senate Banking Committee, made possible by the retirement of two Senate Democrats. Warren represents the two R’s that make the financial industry tremble; regulation and reform. Why should banks and Wall Street be held accountable to consumers for pity sakes? The big boys want to keep her off that committee.
New York Democratic Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand has removed herself from consideration, further clearing the path should Warren want to declare herself for the committee. Something she has not yet done. The final appointment decision is up to Senate Majority leader, Harry Reid. If Warren opts to ask for a committee seat, we’ll soon see whom Reid actually represents; the people or the bankers and Wall Street. If she doesn’t opt for the committee, there will have been a back room meeting between Reid and Warren where he will have counseled her to “cool her jets” for the time being. In other words, I can’t imagine for the life of me Warren not wanting to be in on the Banking Committee action. Campaign contribution carrots dangled over Warren in the event she wants to make a 2016 run at the Presidency? Let’s hope that’s not the case.
I don’t believe Warren will cave to any special interests for any reason. Even if she’s kept off the committee, she will be a huge advocate for consumer interests. Exactly the type of constituent-friendly person you want inside the beltway. Warren and Grayson; has a nice ring to it. I’m thankful for that duo.
Let me close with the most obvious reason for thanks; Barack Obama!!!
Space prevents me from listing all the elections I’m thankful for this year. Suffice to say Thanksgiving, 2012, is going to be wonderfully festive.